“Court documents provide irrefutable proof the asbestos industry leveraged its power and influence to keep workers and the public in the dark about the hazards of asbestos. Dozens of companies are implicated in the decades-long cover-up.” – Joey Rosenberg
The website asbestos.com notes that asbestos was once “considered a miracle mineral for its heat resistance and durability.” However, it has been established that it is a carcinogen. And, asbestos miners are at the highest risk of developing malignant mesothelioma from breathing in or swallowing asbestos fibers.
Therefore, the question that begs is: If you ever worked in the asbestos industry, especially on the mines, and you have contracted malignant mesothelioma, do you have any legal recourse?
According to a Buffalo asbestos attorney, the succinct answer is: Yes! However, before we expand on this topic, let’s consider a brief history of asbestos mining.
Asbestos mining: A history
Slaves first mined asbestos in the Roman Empire. These mines are known for their high and early death rates. As the people dying as a consequence of working on the mines were slaves, the Roman Empire did not take any notice of these numbers. Asbestos mining peaked during the Industrial Revolution as the end product was used as the perfect solution for insulating the many factories springing up.
In modern times, asbestos was refined and included in several products like fabric, building materials, fireproofing materials, insulation, and plastics. However, the high numbers of injuries, disabilities, and deaths in the asbestos industry started raising red flags. And, global scientists starting research projects studying the side effects of working in the asbestos industry.
For example, a 2017 study conducted by Finnish researchers showed the following outcomes:
Every one of their subjects, the 734 miners who worked in asbestos mines between 1953 and 1967, had a 200% risk of developing lung cancer and a 1000% risk of developing malignant mesothelioma.
Asbestos mining in the USA
By the time asbestos mines opened in the USA, there were already several mines in Canada, especially in the Quebec area. Canada was a major exporter of asbestos to the USA. However, Canada’s last asbestos mine closed in 2011. And, it was banned as a product in Canada in 2018.
The first US asbestos mines opened at the beginning of the twentieth century and peaked in 1973. The Federal government only started issuing warnings about the dangers of asbestos in circa 1975 or 1976. And, they begin to regulate its use. However, it was too late for many of the asbestos miners.
The financial impact of malignant mesothelioma
The cost of malignant mesothelioma needs to be part of the algorithms determining the cost of the asbestos industry to the US economy.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention states in its report titled, “Malignant Mesothelioma Mortality — United States, 1999–2015,” indicates that the average patient has a median survival rate of one year from the time of diagnosis. Even though there is treatment available, it is not very effective, and the 5-year survival rate for mesothelioma sufferers is between five and ten percent.
Furthermore, there were a total of 45 221 deaths reported in the US between 1999 and 2015 with malignant mesothelioma listed as the cause of death.
Finally, apart from the loss of income and treatment costs, the US Federal government has set aside $30 billion (USD) to be used to pay out sufferers who worked in the asbestos industry as well as their families.
Therefore, if you have worked in the asbestos industry, especially as a miner, there is a legal option for you to receive financial compensation for the damage done to your body, especially your lungs as a consequence of breathing in asbestos dust.